A Kenilworth barn was used as a base for stolen cars to be sent to and scrapped for parts, a court heard.
The barn on Rouncil Farm in Rouncil Lane was raided by police, who found evidence of stolen cars worth hundreds of thousands of pounds having been stripped down for their parts.
One of the men involved in the large-scale conspiracy was traced after his van was found at the barn and his fingerprints were discovered on some of the parts.
And at Warwick Crown Court, Dindar Hassan, 33, of The Coppice, Coventry, pleaded guilty to conspiring to handle stolen vehicles.
Hassan, who entered his plea on the basis that he was involved for only about two weeks, was given a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Tim Harrington said: “The position is that there was a very significant conspiracy to steal cars, and a conspiracy to handle a large number of them.
“It had been set up by other people. This defendant was only involved to a limited degree.”
Evidence which suggested Hassan had been involved for longer than set out in his basis of plea had come from the farm owner.
But Mr Harrington pointed out: “His evidence was rejected by the prosecution who consider him not to be a witness of truth.”
Mr Harrington said Hassan had been recruited to the conspiracy by others, and his role was to work on cars for a period of about two weeks, for which he was paid in cash.
He was involved in stripping vehicles worth a total of less than £100,000 at the barn, which had been rented from the owner by a man called Ali.
Mr Harrington continued: “The shells were simply discarded or given to [farm owner] Mr Tebby, and some were found at Wedgnock Lane Farm, also owned by Mr Tebby who gave conflicting accounts of what he knew.”
When the police arrived, the building was awash with stolen parts, with some vehicles that had already been stripped down and others still intact.
“The defendant was implicated because a Mercedes van which was there was registered to him, and he had also left his prints on a number of car parts.”
Mr Harrington said the ‘best estimate’ was that the conspiracy as a whole had involved vehicles worth £500,000 – but most of those had been stolen and stripped before it could be proved Hassan became involved.
Talbir Singh, defending, said Hassan had always worked since coming to this country from Iraq when he was 17, sending money back to his family when he could.
So when he was approached to help strip down cars, he saw the opportunity to make some more money from what he thought at first would be a legitimate business.
Sentencing Hassan, Recorder David Chinery told him: It’s always very sad to see a man appear before the court for the first time, particularly in circumstances such as this.
“You came to this country, and have worked hard and are capable of earning a good, legitimate living for yourself.
“Sometimes if a deal looks too good to be true, it often is too good to be true.”